July 29, 2019
A charismatic anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navalny has been Russia’s leading opposition politician for around a decade, determined to challenge Vladimir Putin’s grip on power despite frequent prison stays and even damage to his health.
The Yale-educated 43-year-old lawyer has been banned from state television and was barred from challenging Putin in a presidential election last year.
He has often been jailed and physically attacked, but has vowed to press ahead with his campaign to change Russia for the better.
Navalny has won a young fan base through viral videos exposing corruption among the elites and has more than two million followers on Twitter.
He has grabbed attention with his uncompromising rhetoric and coined phrases such as the “party of crooks and thieves” to slam the ruling party United Russia.
In 2011, the anti-corruption blogger led mass protests when tens of thousands took to the streets of Moscow to protest against vote-rigging in parliamentary elections.
Two years later the father of two stood for Moscow mayor, coming second against Putin ally Sergei Sobyanin.
In 2017, he accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of massive corruption in a YouTube documentary. That kick-started a fresh wave of protests across the country that was met with police violence and mass arrests.
The same year he had to travel to Spain for surgery after one of several street attacks left him nearly blind in one eye.
– Brother jailed –
Navalny has faced a series of legal cases, which supporters see as punishment for his activism.
Doctor of Russia’s opposition leader accuses Moscow hospital of cover-up as he is cleared for prison